Welcome to Steeped In Books, a place for book promotions of all kinds: reviews, give-aways, author interviews and a quiet rest station on your blog hop. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit. The tea is ready,...or maybe you would prefer coffee. Whatever your preference, enjoy a cup of refreshment while you browse what is offered here for your enjoyment.

Thursday, December 6, 2012



Letting my readers know about this free book promotion site I stumbled upon on Twitter.  I signed up my book: Home Street Home - The Virginia Beach Chronicles.  I know so many are looking for ways to get their books out there to a wider readership. 


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Monday, July 16, 2012

Inner Pilgrimage - Ten Days to a Mindful Me by Raji Lukkoor

Steeped in Books' "Always Honest Review" of Inner Pilgrimage

Though it appears at first to be a casual read, be prepared to learn some in-depth details about Vipassana, otherwise known as “insight meditation” according to the author.  Written in a casual style, these journal-like thirteen chapters take the reader along on a ten-day meditation retreat where silence is the rule and intense meditation is the day-long challenge.  Don’t let the chatty descriptions of the retreat facilities, the surrounding countryside, and breath-taking starry night sky fool you – this is a serious work.  By the end of chapter one the reader has already been introduced to many new terms used in the practice of Vipassana, terms that are used again throughout the book in ever more meaningful ways as the author details what happens to her physically, mentally and spiritually during this ten days of withdrawal from her every-day world. 
I was impressed with the author’s honesty.  She never avoided describing pains, discouragements and failures even as she shared the triumphs and the over-all beauty of the experience.  When she experienced disagreeable “sensations” generated by the meditation (which she bravely soldiered through), I had to admit to myself that the practice of Vipassana might not be for me.  I’m still hooked on the idea of that nice pleasant floating-type meditation experience that feels good all the time  - not dealing with karma and left-over baggage from old births and rebirths.  But maybe that’s why I remain mostly quite unenlightened.  

All joking aside, I enjoyed this book and recognize that the serious student of Vipassana would find much in here to help her along her path.

See more about Raji Lukkoor and "Inner Pilgrimage" here on her website


Monday, May 21, 2012

Self as Child

 http://www.wix.com/niamhclune/youth-tube1  Introducing Youth Tube in honor of which I am posting this little childhood story.
 Hiding in the closet exploring Grandma's trunk was a sublime pleasure.  My little brother dug through the treasures with me and we tried to keep the giggling down so we wouldn't get caught looting.  An old time picture viewer had us puzzled at first but we figured it out.  Was this how people amused themselves before movies came along?  Just boring pictures of Niagra Falls with a bunch of people dressed funny, all the ladies carrying a load on their butts. (Grandma later told me those were called bustles).  A handsome gem from an old-fashioned costume jewelry collection seemed to have come from Ali Baba's very cave. It sparkled purple under the dim light bulb.  All it needed was a chain to become a body ornament extraordinaire. 

      "Cheezit!  Someone's coming.  Hide under that pile of clothes!"  I whisper loudly.

      "Are you little divilskins in that closet again?"  We hear Grandma's voice.

      We are silent under piles of forgotten last century finery as she steps in and turns out the light.

       Later we emerge with a gift for her - a rare purple jewel tied on a string.  She wants to be angry because we've been rummaging through the closet again.  But how can she be mad when we gave her such a beautiful gift from the cave of thieves?  

Monday, March 19, 2012


Home Street Home - The Virginia Beach Chronicles 
AltDaily.com Hampton Roads Spring Group Read Selection.  




  The AltDaily.com cultural bunch is selecting a novel set in Hampton Roads for a region-wide group read.

   My book, Home Street Home - The Virginia Beach Chronicles, has been nominated.  It would be a dream come true for me to win the contest.  Personally, it would be a validation of my writing, but even better, it would be an opportunity to spread a better understanding of homelessness among the public.  Imagine if there was a huge grassroots public outcry about the problem, what impetus that would add to the efforts now underway to end homelessness in our area and maybe even in the nation.  Yes, perhaps a win would even result in national attention and resources to add with our own to end homelessness!  It never hurts to dream!  

And that's where all of you come in.  Please Vote for Home Street Home - The Virginia Beach Chronicles.  I will add the link to the ballot RIGHT HERE ON THIS BLOG just as soon as it is published on Friday, March 23.  


Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr.

"...it certainly appears to be a very honest and descriptive account of the lives of the homeless community."  
 William D. Sessoms, Jr., Mayor of Virginia Beach

Dr. Bill Ruehlmann

"...a uniformly rugged but redemptive novel about life among the homeless in Hampton Roads." 
Bill Ruehlmann, Book Columnist 
at The Virginian-Pilot and Professor Emeritus of Journalism

READ Dr. Ruehlmann's review of Home Street Home here:

Anne Meek

"The book is realistic. It's not amatuerish, nor does it seek sympathy. There is definitely a market for this."
Anne Meek, board secretary for the Cultural Alliance of 
Greater Hampton Roads

John Zunski

"Stephen King has nothing over Georgia Saunders, and the horrors Ms. Saunders writes about within Home Street Home aren't figments of the imagination." 
 John Zunski, author of Cemetery Street and Shangri-La Trailer Park
HOT OFF THE PRESS:  Read John Zunski's new interview with yours truly, Georgia Saunders

Ginny Sorrell and husband, Ron.
"Georgia Saunders puts a face on homelessness, and it is OUR face."  Ginny Sorrell of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. 

Ro Goodman

"I want to commend Ms. Saunders for not sugarcoating the harsh reality of homelessness"  - Ro Goodman, author of Snow Escape

Jeff Andrews and wife, Mary Lou

"She provides an authentic picture from what I know of homelessness on the streets. Her story puts a human face on the whole issue of homelessness."
 Jeffrey Andrews, retired Marine Corps major and president of Hope in the Upper Room, a non-profit devoted to giving the homeless a "hand up", not a "hand out".

Please vote for 
Home Street Home 
 The Virginia Beach Chronicles 
March 23 - March 29
BALLOT link will be posted on this BLOG as soon as it is published on AltDaily.com
Thank you in advance for your support in getting this literary work on homelessness out to the public.

More reviews and information about Home Street Home can be found at:
My Website 
Home Street Home is available in print and kindle.
There are also copies available at every public library in Virginia Beach and Norfolk

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Friday Feature and Follow February 24, 2012

I sure don't know why the new code gives me the same old picture.

Q: Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most...

My Answer: I like to read just about anywhere.  On the couch at home, at the library, at a bookstore, in a coffee shop.  I have even been known to read walking down the street!  Can't get my nose out of those books!

Now for a description:  My couch is next to my grow light garden, where I have bottle gardens, plants and seedlings sending out new life all the time.  Behind the couch is a big table also full of plants that live in my double window.  A lot of plants make the air better in the house, plus the window opens on the ocean air of Virginia Beach.  I have lots of pillows and two silky yarn throw blankets on the couch that keep the cool air from giving me a chill as I read.  

Friday, February 17, 2012


Q: BeefcakeandBabes Asks: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What’s the most unique character name you’ve come across?

My Answer: I have always thought Fagin from Dickens' Oliver Twist had a very expressive name. But after another day's thought, I'm going to go with GORMLAITH, who is the LUSTY fiery-tempered red-headed Celtic queen of Brian Boru in "Lion of Ireland". This is a great historical novel by Morgan Lywellyn that got me on a whole kick of reading Celtic subjects involving pre-Christian paganism. Though Brian's court was Christian, his reign was at a transition time when Ireland was still partly pagan. I have read the book several times along with it's sequel, "Pride of Lions"

MYSTOINNA  from "Shangri-La Trailer Park" by John Zunski, is also a pretty unusual name.  I appreciated the author giving the correct pronunciation early in the story so I could get used to saying it.  (My Stweena)
Shangri-La Trailer Park might be a little too raw for some people, so BEWARE

Monday, January 30, 2012


Press Release

Every Child is Entitled to Innocence will be the first publication of the newly- formed Orangeberry Publishing Group. Due to release on February 14th, profits from the sales of this e-book will be donated to Child Helpline International.

Says initiator of the project, Dr. Niamh Clune, “I met many writers through the Internet that experienced difficult childhoods yet have overcome their brutal beginnings. I wanted to make the first Orangeberry publication a celebration of creative imagination. This powerful friend of damaged children plays an essential role in an abused child’s recovery. Gathering this series of stories was a joy. Orangeberry Books has developed special, vibrant relationships with contributors and has forged many lasting friendships.

We encouraged happy stories that reflected the innocence of childhood when infants feel wrapped in the warmth of loving arms. We wanted to contrast these with the sad ones, making them stand out in relief against a bright backdrop. We felt this comparison would demonstrate, without explanation, what happens when innocence is stolen.

In this book, the reader will find many wonderful, heart-warming stories; whilst the sad ones demonstrate the magnificence of the human spirit as it triumphs against all the odds.”

Executive Editor, Karen S. Elliott stated, “While I looked at all the stories in the Every Child anthology, I edited only a few. I thought it was important, for this tome, that the writers be able to express the heartbreak and joy of childhoods past without censorship.”

Spokesperson for Orangeberry Books, Niamh Clune, explained how The Orangeberry Group is at the vanguard of a new wave of Internet publishing companies. Orangeberry aims to put quality first and bring exciting, exceptionally talented authors to the reader’s attention. Its focus is not on commercialism, but on quality, beautifully written, well-told stories. Orangeberry will also publish poetry. A further aim of the publishing company is to bring a collection of exceptional artists from across many different art disciplines to collaborate on projects in a personal, hands-on, mutually supportive manner.

The motto of the company is, ‘Paying it Forward.’ The company relies on a well-developed social network, the dedication of the core team members, their talent and enthusiasm coupled with a socially entrepreneurial spirit. Supporters and members of this group will also benefit from on-line mentoring, a book-club, the Youth Tube Channel, and the OBBlog.

For further information visit http://www.orangeberrybooks.com

Join the FB group @ http://www.facebook.com/groups/orangeberrygroup/


by Georgia Saunders    
From Every Child Deserves Innocence 

Boston Swan Boats

Explosions of glass shattering. “Don’t walk in the pantry, Stella. Keep the baby in her room. Your dad is just drunk again.” “He’s asleep now, it’s safe to come out and sweep up the glass. No, don’t bother about that, I’m ok. Just get the glass swept up and then bring the baby out and feed her. I wish she would stop that screaming.”

“Your mother never kept you clean. When I changed your diaper, daughter, you always had a bright red rash.”
I am that baby. I remember the dark room…above the bed I wrote in crayon…Dog…God…

“Did you see what the baby wrote on the wall?” “She couldn’t write that, she isn’t even two yet. Stella must have done it. Tell grandma the truth, Stella. But how clever of Stella to know dog spelt backwards is god. She’s clever for her six years, isn’t she?” “Yes, but she can’t be using the crayons on the wall. More trouble from the landlord. And me pregnant again.”

Boston's Historic Beacon Hill
"Find the brush. The taxi is coming for you and baby brother Jimmy.” I whirl my four years around in a circle. “But I can’t find the brush.” “Well then go to your grandmother with your hair all tangled. You aren’t even looking for the brush.” Mother why is Jimmy crying so much? Be careful when you change him. You do it too roughly. Did you stick him with the pins again? I’m glad we are going to live with grandma. You don’t take care of Jimmy. “I’ve had all I can bear with that drunken father of yours.”

Stage directions: Fist coming through the glass in the front door window, bloodied by the fragments, reaches for the doorknob and turns it.

“No, Russ, you can’t come in here. Don’t cause a problem in front of the children – Russ!” Grandma is our first defense. Grandma is our legion of mighty warrior. Mother has a new husband now and we are safe here with our fat grandma who is the front line shield from Dad’s drunks. Baby brother and I are snug in the comforters. But what is happening to our Grandma?

The Black Watch

The next day we see. The coffee table is smashed in two by a fist of fury. The birdcage is on the floor and the parakeet is dead. “I know, Ma, I tried to keep him out,” Grandma says to great grandma, who lives in the other half of the first floor. Great grandma is worried. It was her brother, after all, who married one of the MacKies, introducing the lineage of drunks to our blood. “The Fergusons, the Campbells, the MacDougalls, the MacCleods, the MacPhersons, the MacKenzies and the rest of the family on P.E.I. - they all know how to hold their liquor.
They drink, too, but they don’t go crazy busting up the furniture and smacking on their women. Worst our people do is act like my fourth cousin William Hume, who got drunk while he was up to Boston one year visiting us. Got up on the roof of the Hilton playing his pipes at two in the morning. Drunker ‘n a damned Orangeman, he was, but he wasn’t mean about it.”

The mid 1700's brought major changes to the Highlands of Scotland with the end of the Highland Clan System, increased population and a dim future. Many sought a better place to live and new opportunities. For these reasons many Scot's left their homelands and made new homes in Cape Breton. Cape Breton has since become a stronghold of Gaelic culture, some say more fiercely Scottish than Scotland. In the final years of the 18th Century, early census show many Irish living in Cape Breton. In fact, in smaller numbers, they arrived before the Scot's, coming from Ireland via Newfoundland. Irish Surnames are still found in many communities.

Among the Irish Surnames of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is MacKie

“In those days first cousins could marry. Our pastor said it was okay,” says Grandma. “It was a different time. First cousin’s marrying ran in our family anyway. You know my second cousin Mary married her first cousin William, and my third cousin Elizabeth - that’s Mary Hume’s Elizabeth, not Mary Campbell’s Elizabeth - married her first cousin James…” Grandma continues, reciting the family tree to the 5th cousin of every 3rd. “Uncle Seamus married a MacKie, and their son is your grandfather Pat – and a mighty drunk was he before your Dad. That’s why I put up with it all these years, honey. I knew it was my fault for marrying into that line, you know. Besides, he’s my son. I love your dad, no matter what problems he has. It hurt him so when his dad, your grandfather Patrick, ran out on us. Uncle Seamus felt bad about it, and your great grandma let him know he was to blame for the MacKie line coming into it all. We were fine without them. ‘Mean drunks going back as far as you could go,’ is what your great grandma always said.”

Baby brother Jimmy is growing fast. I protect him when I can. Our family owns a huge rooming house where we live on the first floor. Sometimes Grandma is too busy cleaning in the two stories of rental rooms above us; she doesn’t see where the beautiful blonde blue-eyed boy child wanders. Some perverts who live up there do.

Dad is brought home by the police from a barroom brawl where he tried to fight three men. That’s my dad, for ya. Wouldn’t be so bad, but the bar he caused the ruckus in belongs to my best friend’s father. They live next door to us. Now my friend isn’t allowed to play with me anymore.

Highland Sword Dance

Grandma takes us to P.E.I. to visit our family. We run barefoot with our cousins all summer, loving the baby chicks and the woods, and swimming in the Beautiful River with its mystery of death. I know there is a woman at the bottom of it, her long hair floating with the river’s flow. I don’t like to go to the muddy river with the jelly fish that have stingers and the dead woman who haunts my dreams.

Tartan of P.E.I.

My cousin Glen was killed by a drunken motorist on the dusty summer road and lies in the graveyard I have to pass every day. My stomach feels queasy when I have to walk by the wild rose bushes there. I know Glen, but I don’t know him dead. He scares me lying in his too-quiet grave. He comes out and blocks the road when I try to pass as I walk from our cottage to my cousin’s house. He wants me to see him, but I’m scared to.

Another cousin has lost his leg. He’s grown. Edward. We pay a get well visit to the family. His false leg stands in the corner of the stairwell at his house. We saw the car – a mangle of twisted steel. “It’s a wonder he survived. Something has to be done about the drunks on the road.” “Eddy may have been drinking himself. How’s your Russ doing these days up to the States? When is he going to come down East again and visit us?”

“He’s still battling the bottle. It’s the MacKie blood, I tell you. A man who’ll run off and marry a woman overseas, leaving his sons behind - well, it hurt Russ too much, that’s what it did. He never got over it, and he blames it on me to this day,” Grandma says. “And Georgia is so good in school. Did you see her grades this time?” “Wonder why her mother gave her that name. What does she need with a southern belle name like that?”

“Georgia is going to a new school next year. It’s for gifted students. She’ll be near Russ’ apartment. He insists I let him take her and Jimmy to live with him. He says they are not being brought up right with me. They are spoiled. They run around dirty like wild puppies. No, he hasn’t been drinking so much lately. Well, I have to let them go, he’s their father. Jimmy? He’s having some trouble in school. Teacher says he’s drawing pictures of swastikas. Where did he even learn that in the third grade? I’ll never know.”

“Jimmy set fire to some barrels in a neighbors’ yard. We don’t know what’s wrong with the boy. He’s the handsomest boy though, isn’t he? His father took care of it. Said it was time for his son to get his first spanking. Jimmy set fire to a mattress after that. Yes, the both kids are with their father now. He said I wasn’t raising them right.”
“Now you kids take this five dollars and get some dinner here at the drug store. After that, go back to the apartment. I’ll be back later after I see my girlfriend. Georgia, didn’t I tell you not to wear that dirty headband again! You need to brush your hair. I’ll be back. They sell food at the counter. Here’s two more dollars for desert. Go home right afterwards, hear?” “Okay, Dad.”

“Georgia, the laundry needs to be taken to the laundromat. Well, you’ll have to carry the bags there, what do you think? I’ve got to work, don’t I? You kids need clothes for school. Get this kitchen cleaned up.”
“Georgia, there’s only this one single bed because that’s what we have. When I’m home, you kids can sleep on the mattress on the floor. What the hell is wrong with that? Jesus H. Christ, you two are way too spoiled by your Grandma.”

“Georgia, as your teacher in the gifted program, I am concerned at the way I see you coming to school. I’m concerned that you don’t have enough supervision at home. Is there a problem we should know about?”

“Georgia ran away, and Jimmy followed her. I don’t know where they’ve gone.” “I’m in New York, Dad. I haven’t called for three months because I didn’t think you really gave a damn” - and besides, I wanted to give you back some of the pain you give everyone else in the family. Were you embarrassed when the school called and you had to tell them your kids ran away? “No, Jimmy’s not with me.” Jimmy fell in with some older men who took care of him pretty well – that’s what happened to my brother.

“I’m fine, Georgia. And don’t call me Jimmy anymore. Call me Seamus, instead. Get it? ‘Jim, you shame us’?”
“When you get back from your journeys, Georgia, you need to look into committing him. He’s your brother. He’s dressing up impersonating an officer.” Don’t worry, he’s just doing his thing. It’s part of that culture. Oh, you wouldn’t know anything about that.

“Jimmy is a heavy drinker now. And he’s on smack. Your mother refuses to acknowledge him as her son. She has no love in her heart for anyone. Something wrong with that woman to throw away two children to feather her own nest.”
“Jimmy’s dead. It was his liver. You don’t want to look at the corpse, it’s very bloated. He was a very sick boy. No, don’t go down there to look. It’s better you remember him the way he used to be. Yes, he ended up drinking himself to death, just like your father did and your grandfather, and his grandfather before him. It comes from the MacKie line, you know.”